What's interesting about collecting ephemera is that you're collecting history, but usually history of little worldly importance. Bits 'n' pieces of things that were important to everyday people for a very short period of time. Thanks to the ease of the internet you can now search out information almost immediately and put the pieces in some sort of context.

I bought this postcard at an estate sale last year. I was anxious to find out what "A Chinese Honeymoon" was about. Leave it to Wikipedia to have the answers. 

a chinese honeymoon1_tatteredandlost

"A Chinese Honeymoon" was "a musical comedy in two acts by George Dance, with music by Howard Talbot and additional music by Ivan Caryll and others, and additional lyrics by Harry Greenbank and others." That's a heck of a lot of "and others" if you ask me. The synopsis from Wikipedia follows:
The Emperor seeks a bride who will marry him "for himself alone," so he despatches an English skipper, who has been promoted to the post of Lord High Admiral of the Chinese fleet, in search of such a woman. But the conditions are rather hard, for the high position of the Emperor is withheld, and the unlucky admiral has to pretend that he represents a billposter. The admiral returns from his quest without success. As a lingering death is the penalty of his failure it need hardly be said that he resorts to all sorts of expedients in order to avert the punishment. Some comical effects are obtained by making the abnormally tall Emperor think that he is betrothed to a diminutive "slavey" [a maid-of-all-work]. To these ingredients add a cockney tradesman married to a jealous wife who insists upon her four bridesmaids travelling with her for detective and protective purposes, a pair of young lovers, and quaint (even if imaginary) Chinese customs.
The musical opened on October 16, 1899 in Hanley, England, toured extensively before playing at the Royal Strand Theater in London, opening on October 5, 1901. It was the first musical to run for 1,000 performances.

What I love the best about it are the inane character names. The West's version of the Far East.
Hang Chow (Emperor of Ylang Ylang)
Chippee Chop (Lord Chancellor) 
Hi Lung (Lord High Admiral) 
Mr Pineapple
There are more, but these are the ones that struck me as the most absurd.

According to the front of this card this production in the US was "Sam S. Shubert's Oriental Musical Comedy. Only successful Musical Treat America has witnessed in three years."

The card was, as you can see, used with a message being sent from a woman in Oakland on Janurary 20, 1905, to Miss Frances Trost in San Francisco. 
Dear Frances, 
You no doubt think me very slow in answering your card but I have thought of you often. Nevertheless, thank you very much. I have about 17 now. Have lost some. It is raining pitch forks tonight and must go to mail this so you receive it tomorrow. Remember to Rosa. If it's not to late I wish you a happey and genrous year. Sincerely Alice Bowden 
a chinese honeymoon2_tatteredandlost

I like the idea that these women were exchanging cards because they were collecting them. Let's hope Miss Frances Trost cherished "The Chinese Honeymoon." 

If you want to actually hear some of the music digitally produced click here. You're certainly not going to find it on iTunes. Happy listening.

UPDATE: I now have items available for sale at Tattered and Lost Ephemera Gift Shop using this vintage image. Get your souvenirs for Broadway's finest before the rush.

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